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University of Calgary

Bee Campus University of Calgary

UCalgary designated a Bee Campus

Guided by an Institutional Sustainability Strategy, sustainability is part of everything we do at UCalgary, including research, teaching and learning, campus and community engagement, and our daily operational and administrative practices. This includes creating and enhancing native pollinator habitats on campus. Our organic campus community garden has specific beds designated for native wildflower planting such as Arctic Aster, Black Eyed Susan, and Yellow Cone Flower.

The Department of Biological Sciences conducts ongoing research to understand bees and other beneficial insects to promote conservation on agricultural and urban landscapes. We also have one of the largest physical bee collections in Canada, with over 100,000 specimens. Visitors can explore the digital collection and database learn to identify and protect endangered bee species.

January 2023

2023 Renewal

Throughout 2022, the University of Calgary has been committed to the preservation and health of pollinator habitat both on campus and throughout Southern Alberta. To align with our Institutional Sustainability Strategy, UCalgary addresses its Bee Campus obligations through a holistic lens of community awareness and involvement, educational and experiential learning, long with daily operational and administrative assistance. This year, the UCalgary community has come together in a variety of ways to learn more about pollinators and the functions they serve in promoting balanced ecosystem dynamics. Graduate and undergraduate students took on strong leadership roles to advance research and aim to understand pollinator habitat and stewardship best practices. Students also brought together science and arts-based education by hosting a pollinator themed play that engaged thousands of youth and families in meaningful education and awareness. Overall, it was a very successful and collaborative year with major focus on revitalizing programming and building momentum in this post-pandemic world.

One of the key highlights of the year was the wide diverse network of collaborators and audiences in which UCalgary both partnered and engaged with throughout the year. The main Bee Campus team of students, faculty and staff enhanced current partnerships with municipalities such as The City of Calgary, and organizations such as Green Calgary, to launch new initiatives as well as host events such as the annual pollinator week celebration. This team also cultivated new on campus partnerships such as One Health at UCalgary and UCalgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts through the launch of the theatre production “Bee-trayal”. These initiatives, along with numerous other such as citizen science programming, workshops, events, tours and digital campaigns engaged a wide variety of audiences ranging from elementary youth, children & families, researchers and the general community at large. These partnerships and collaborations were instrumental in allowing pollinator-focused programming to reach people at all age levels, and amplify the amazing work being done at a regional scale.

January 2023

February 2022

2022 Renewal

The University of Calgary (UCalgary) has been dedicated to pollinator health and habitat protection throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. UCalgary approaches its Bee Campus responsibilities through a holistic lens of community awareness and engagement, educational and experiential learning, and daily operational and administrative assistance; this approach is aligned with our Institutional Sustainability Strategy. In various ways, the UCalgary community has come together to learn more about pollinators and the roles they play in supporting resilient local and global food systems. As a result, there has been increased commitment to environmental stewardship and implementation of best practices for habitat protection for these species. Faculty and students have taken on leadership roles in research to improve pollinator health and habitat on campus. Community efforts have also been made possible through the administrative efforts of the university to create online, in-person, and blended (online and in-person) platforms for pollinator health and habitat protection activities to be facilitated despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pollinator week was the pinnacle of UCalgary’s initiatives as a Bee Campus. The Office of Sustainability hosted a weeklong virtual celebration during National Pollinator week to raise awareness about the importance of protecting pollinator habitat in Southern Alberta. These events were positioned to support the enhancement of UCalgary’s Bee Campus designation, as well as increase engagement and partnerships for the Office of Sustainability. Events throughout Pollinator Week included social media campaigns leading up to Pollinator Week, digital engagement events that occurred during the week, and some additional activities that were facilitated after Pollinator Week. New partnerships were fostered, opportunities to collaborate were realized, and impactful educational programming was created. Facilitating pollinator celebrations on a virtual/online platform allowed the university to leverage its social media platforms to engage a more diverse and wider audience.

February 2022

February 2020

Bee Campus Application

The University of Calgary is widely recognized as a leader in sustainability. Not only are we Al­berta’s first Fair Trade Campus, but we are a Canadian leader in high performance green build­ings and sustainable campus landscape practices. Within the Department of Biological Sci­ences, there is ongoing research to understand bees and other beneficial insects to promote conservation on agricultural and urban landscapes. We also have one of the largest physical bee collections in Canada, with over 100,000 specimens.

UCalgary Campus Community Garden
Whether big or small, a community garden is a complex ecological system. Created in 2001, the Campus Community Garden is an inclusive space on UCalgary’s main campus, open to stu­dents, faculty, staff, and community members for growing pesticide-free food and connecting on projects that support the development of sustainable food systems and healthy eating. Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides or other such products which upset the balance of the eco­system are not permitted, thus enhancing pollinator habitat on campus.

Bank for Bees Sculpture
In 2018, Master of Fine Arts student and artist Dylan Mclernon donated his sculpture Bank for Bees to the community garden. Bank for Bees is one in a series of sculptures created by Dylan Mclernon to serve as habitats for solitary bees. This public artwork was developed using an up­cycled poplar tree that died and fell on the University of Calgary campus. A section of the tree was sculpted into the shape of a bee abdomen, with bored holes ranging from 3 mm to 10 mm to accommodate various types of solitary bees. A printmaker’s copper plate from the Depart­ment of Art was repurposed and sculpted into a wing-shaped roof to protect the nesting holes from rain and snow. Through a partnership with the Office of Sustainability, Bank for Bees was donated to the UCalgary Community Garden to promote solitary bee ecology and crop pollina­tion. The sculpture is located in a communal area of the garden, surrounded by native wildflow­ers including Arctic aster, Black eyed susan, Brown eyed susan, Cut leaved anemone, Cut leaved fleabane, Field chick weed, Graceful cinquefoil, Harebell, Silky scorpion weed, Showy jacobs ladder, and Yellow cone flower.

February 2020
Bee Campus University of Calgary

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